ANN ARBOR, Mich. – Michigan basketball dropped some massive future scheduling news Thursday, announcing a series with fellow blue blood Kentucky that includes match-ups the next three seasons in London, Ann Arbor and Lexington.
The relationship between new Michigan head coach Juwan Howard and Kentucky coach John Calipari likely got the ball rolling on this series.
In December 2020, the two teams will meet for a neutral site game at O2 Arena in London. It will be the first Division I college basketball played at O2 Arena, U of M officials said.
Kentucky will travel to the Crisler Center in Ann Arbor for a game in 2021, with Michigan making a return trip to Rupp Arena in 2022.
“When the idea of playing Kentucky came up, we knew it would be an exciting opportunity, not only for ourselves, but for our fans as well,” Howard said in a release. “What a unique three-game series. First, we get to showcase collegiate basketball overseas in London before playing that traditional home-and-home series in front of two of the nation’s best basketball environments. We cannot wait.”
This will be Michigan’s first game in Europe, according to the school’s website. It has traveled outside the U.S. five times in the regular season -- all in the Caribbean.
Last week, the Wolverines were in the Bahamas for the Battle 4 Atlantis tournament, knocking off Iowa State, No. 6 North Carolina and No. 8 Gonazaga on consecutive days to take home the title.
Kentucky leads the all-time series 5-2. The last meeting between the schools came in the 2014 Elite Eight at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. With a chance to advance to its second-straight Final Four, Michigan’s season came to a heartbreaking end when Aaron Harrison hit a long 3-pointer in the final seconds. Kentucky won by a final score of 75-72.
That stands as the only meeting between Michigan and Kentucky since 1993, when Howard and the Fab Five defeated Kentucky in the Final Four in New Orleans.
Kentucky is currently 6-1 on the season and ranked No. 8 in the AP poll. Michigan is 7-1 and recently rose from unranked to No. 4 in the country -- tied for the largest jump in AP poll history.